If you have visible or extensive scarring, you already know how much it can impact your self-confidence and ability to function on a daily basis. Burn, surgical, acne and injury scars are all common afflictions, and unfortunately, there are very few ways to promote the growth of healthy skin cells once scar tissue has formed. Often, surgical treatments are the only effective option available, but you may be relieved to learn that surgery can dramatically reduce the size and visibility of your scars. These four procedures are some of the most common methods cosmetic surgeons to treat scars, depending on their type and severity.
Grafting Skin to Cover Large Scars
In cases of large burns or similarly extensive scarring, skin grafts may be necessary to successfully treat them. During a standard scar-removal surgery, the scar tissue is removed, and the healthy skin along the edges is sewn back together to begin healing and growing. Skin grafts, or taking skin from one part of the body for use in another area, become necessary when the scarring is too large for the remaining skin to be sewn back into place.
Hiding Scars Through a Z-Plasty
If you are reluctant to lose any skin as part of your treatment, a z-plasty may be a better option. In this procedure, your cosmetic surgeon creates a z-shaped incision with the scar at the center. The triangular flaps created by this incision are then transposed and sewn together again, while the scar itself is divided and tucked beneath them, out of sight. This procedure does not get rid of scars, but it does hide them and can make them more comfortable.
Treating Raised Scars With Steroids and Surgery
Keloid scars occur when scar tissue becomes overly enthusiastic, growing excessively over a burn or injury to form raised bumps. They are typically first treated through steroid injections, which have been shown to significantly reduce their size. If this method does not produce adequate results, laser removal or physical therapy may be necessary to clean up what's left.
Laser Resurfacing Small Scars
For acne and other smaller scars, laser therapy is a minimally invasive and effective way to resurface your skin and minimize the appearance of scars. In this procedure, specially designed lasers carefully burn away the top few layers of your skin to reveal the healthy new cells below. This smooths the edges of scars and reduces their depth, making them less noticeable. Recovery typically involves some pain and swelling, but the areas should heal fully within a few weeks. If you are tired of living with your scars, don't hesitate to explore your options with an experienced cosmetic surgeon and begin feeling comfortable in your own skin again.
Contact dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons like John Gatti MD for guidance on your scar treatments.